Two men are being held in connection with the murder of Maryland State Police Trooper First Class Wesley W. Brown.
Cyril Williams, 27, of Seat Pleasant, Md., was identified from surveillance photos as the man Brown escorted out of the Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill and Bar on the 3400 block of Donnell Drive in Forestville. Police officials say Williams and a friend, Anthony Milton II, also of Seat Pleasant, ambushed Brown about 30 minutes after Williams’ ejection from the restaurant.
Police officials say Milton admitted he went to Applebee’s with Williams and that both men participated in Brown’s murder.
Both men have extensive criminal backgrounds according to court records, including multiple weapons and drug charges. Williams even faced second degree attempted murder charges that were later dismissed. Officials from across Maryland reacted to news of the arrest at a press conference.
“I just want to say, on behalf of the people of my state, how very grateful I am of the professionalism of the men and women of the Prince George’s County Police Department and the Maryland State Police for pursuing, in every waking moment of these last few days, this investigation to it’s conclusion,” said Gov. Martin O’Malley (D). “This has been an investigation that was worked tirelessly, professionally, and well.”
Brown was described as an officer with a bright future. He was the youngest to graduate from his academy class and was being fast tracked in the state trooper force. “TFC Brown was a remarkable young man,” said 1st Sgt. Rodney Morris, Brown’s commanding officer. “He was on his way to becoming a very fine trooper. All he wanted to do is serve his community. If there was an assignment for an event here in Prince George’s, he was one of the first ones I’d display.”
Police say Brown escorted Williams out of the Applebees after a dispute over his bill. About 30 minutes later, as Brown stepped outside of the restaurant to make a phone call, either Williams or Milton allegedly shot him without warning. Brown mustered enough energy to stumble back inside the restaurant, at which point patrons dialed 911.
Brown was wearing a Maryland State Police jacket with his badge hanging from his neck and had his cruiser parked in front of the restaurant. He also was wearing a bulletproof vest, but police officials say the bullet managed to dodge the his vest, piercing his heart.
Officials say they are unsure which man pulled the trigger that ended Brown’s life. However, they believe that anyone willing to shoot an officer shows no regard for the law.
“This person is dangerous,” said Maj. Andrew Ellis, public affairs officer for the Prince George’s County Police Department. “Anybody who would take a shot and kill an armed police officer, a guardian of society, would have no questions or qualms about harming anybody else that gets in his way.”
Brown graduated from Crossland High School and studied criminal justice at Prince George’s Community College. He was a member of the police force for three-and-a-half years and started Young Men Enlightening Younger Men, a mentoring group, “to show the young men in the community that there is a bigger and brighter future ahead of them with unlimited possibilities.”
The group met monthly and took field trips. The June field trip was to New York City and due to take place the day of Brown’s murder. According to Morris, one of the groups other senior mentors pushed forward with the trip.
Brown’s commitment to the community has touched hearts all over Maryland as many have expressed their regrets over his passing. “Trooper Brown exemplified the best in our communities and his death is a tragic reminder of the perils our law enforcement officers face every single day, and the bravery they show to ensure the safety of all Marylanders,” said Rep. Donna Edwards, D-Md., in a statement. “My thoughts and prayers are with Trooper Brown’s family and friends during this difficult time.”
Others are simply fed up with the senseless violence plaguing Prince George’s County’s communities. “The is sickened by the needless death of this outstanding role model and the time is now for everyone in our community to stand tall in order to announce a new day where nonviolence is stressed loudly and criminals are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” said James Dula, chairman of the Legislative Committee of the Legislative Leadership Committee of the Prince George’s County chapter of the SCLC, in a statement.